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New Zealand stand strong after Nweke ruled out while Australia and Malawi earn second stage wins

Rocked by the injury-enforced withdrawal of young goal shooter Grace Nweke, New Zealand rallied together to put in an impressive performance against Wales on the first day of the second stage of matches at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.

Australia easily overcame Scotland and Malawi beat Fiji, whilst it was Barbados that got the better of Zimbabwe.

To find out where you can watch all the matches live and on demand from the NWC2023, click here.

Here is a short recap of the action we have seen so far today:

AUSTRALIA 76 - 37 SCOTLAND

Australia came up against Scotland for the 10th time at a Netball World Cup when the second stage of the preliminaries got under way at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Monday morning.

It was always going to be a tough prospect for the Thistles, taking on the 11-time world champions, who had scored 20 or more goals in all but one of their quarters at this tournament so far.

It was nevertheless a promising start from Tamsin Greenway’s Scotland side, bringing some good intensity at the start of the game.

But the world’s 10th-ranked side struggled with consistency and soon fell behind, the Aussies racing away to a 21-9 lead by the first break.

Australian captain Liz Watson came on for Jamie-Lee Price in the second quarter after the centre was cautioned at the end of the first, and Sunday Aryang replaced Jo Weston at goal defence, whilst Greenway made multiple changes to her side – giving as many players as possible the chance to test themselves on court against the World Netball World Ranked Number one team.

Goal attack Sophie Garbin kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Diamonds, scoring 38 out of Australia’s 43 goals by halftime, at an average of 95 per cent.

Like in their match against England on Sunday, Scotland enjoyed an impressive third quarter, some excellent defence restricting Australia to just 15 goals while scoring 11 of their own.

The Thistles continued that momentum at the start of the fourth period, upping their intensity once again while some sloppy play started creeping in for the Diamonds, who appeared to have taken their foot off the pedal somewhat.

But, the Diamonds soon got themselves back on track to win the final quarter by nine goals, so wrapping up the 76-37 win.

BARBADOS 62 - 45 ZIMBABWE

In their second meeting at a Netball World Cup, Barbados beat Zimbabwe 62-45 in a Group E match at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.

The roles have been reversed as at the Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool, Zimbabwe walked away with bragging rights following a 66-41 victory, whilst this time it was the Bajan Gems time to shine.  

Initially it seemed Zimbabwe would be able to keep up with their opponents with the scoreline still within reach, with a handful of much-needed interceptions and deflections frustrating Barbados.  

As the first 15 minutes wound down, the Bajan Gems however settled into things with a run of successive goals by shooter Kadeen Corbin.

Barbados also started starving Zimbabwe of crucial possession and this continued in the second quarter.

The teams went into the halftime break with Barbados comfortably leading 35-16. 

Zimbabwe had a much better second half as they outscored the Bajan Gems by two goals (29-27), but it was not enough to take the win.  

WALES 34 - 83 NEW ZEALAND

The news overshadowing the Silver Ferns team as they took to the court for their Netball World Cup match against Wales on Monday was that goal shooter Grace Nweke will take no further part in the tournament in Cape Town.

Nweke limped off the court with a knee injury in New Zealand’s match against Singapore on Sunday and while early reports suggested the problem was not a serious one, just a day later the official statement came that Nweke had suffered a partial tear in her patella tendon and has been replaced in the squad by travelling reserve Tiana Metuarau.

Maia Wilson started against Wales as goal shooter and duly delivered, notching up a 100 per cent average with 29 from 29 in the first half as the Silver Ferns powered into a 40-16 lead by halftime.

She extended that flawless record into the third quarter, adding 20 more goals to the rising New Zealand total, deservedly earning her the Most Valuable Player accolade.

Metuarau was given her first taste of Netball World Cup action when she replaced Ameliaranne Ekenasio with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter and looked at home immediately as the Ferns continued to dominate.

While the fourth quarter was a better one for Wales, with only six goals separating the sides, the defending champions had no trouble in wrapping up the 83-34 win.

MALAWI 62 - 48 FIJI

Fuelled by a vocal crowd, Malawi overcame a blistering start by Fiji in their Group F match on Monday to record a 62-48 win at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.  

In their only previous meeting at a Netball World Cup, in Christchurch 1999,  Malawi also got the better of the Fijians, beating them 68-45.

More recently (April 2023) the Queens defeated the Pearls 54-47 at the Pacific-Aus Series on the Australian Gold Coast.  

A streak of nine unanswered goals midway through the first quarter saw Malawi edge ahead of Fiji with Joyce Mvula shooting with deadly accuracy.

At the other end of the court defenders Jane Dambo and Towera Vinkhumbo were solid, denying the Fijian shooters any breathing space.

The Queens went into the halftime break with a comfortable 36-23 cushion.  

In an attempt to counter the Malawian playmaking and pump some added energy into her squad, Fiji coach Unaisi Rakoura made a handful of changes before the halftime break.

Fiji came out all guns blazing in the penultimate quarter intent on not simply handing Malawi an easy victory. They shared the spoils with the Queens in the third quarter (11-11). 

In the final 15 minutes, the Malawi Queen’s mid-court players demonstrated great ball control and created even more scoring opportunities while at the same time limiting Fiji’s chances to counterattack.

While Fiji had more than 50 per cent of the ball in the last quarter, it was Malawi who had the better of possession throughout the match, giving their shooters enough chances to keep the scoreboard ticking over.  

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